Barbados will make its presence felt at international meetings scheduled to be held later this year, as it seeks to get a firm commitment on several issues facing Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart assured United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, of this country???s participation in these high-level dialogues recently during a courtesy call at Ilaro Court, held prior to the opening of the 36th Regular Heads of Government Conference.

Mr. Stuart said that there were plans to address a number of issues related to sustainable development at the upcoming United Nations Summit to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda in September, as well as the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France in December.

The Prime Minister added that Barbados had a vested interest in both areas, particularly climate change. ???When we talk we can choose whether or not we want to listen to each other, but when the planet speaks we need to listen to the planet, so it is important that an agreement is secured in Paris,??? he stated.

He also spoke about the issue of domestic violence, which was one of the areas raised by the Secretary General for discussion. According to Mr. Stuart, work is under way to strengthen the legislation governing this matter.

The Prime Minister explained, however, that while this is being done, the 1992 Protection Orders Act made it easier for victims of domestic violence to access the courts and gave magistrates wider powers to discipline perpetrators.

The Prime Minister also lauded Mr. Ban for his commitment to small island developing states. In turn, the UN Secretary General praised Barbados for its sterling contribution to the SIDS conference which was held last year in Samoa.

He added that he believed that special considerations should be made for SIDS and pledged his continuing commitment to advancing their cause.??He also spoke to the issues of climate change, non-communicable diseases, renewable energy, unemployment and violence against women.

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